Real estate trends continue upward |

Real estate trends continue upward

While real estate activity in Summit and Wasatch Counties has not yet returned to pre-recession levels, statistics from the Park City Board of Realtors for the first quarter of 2014 show an increase in nearly every segment of the market.

According to PCBR President Marcie Davis, "The market is coming back up and rebounding."

According to the numbers released by the Park City Board of Realtors on April 30, the number of closed sales for the first quarter of 2014 – including single-family homes, condominiums and vacant land – is higher than it has been for a first quarter since 2007.

Davis attributes the uptick in sales to the increase in "new product" in the Jordanelle area.

"We’re seeing that a lot of new product is selling, and Jordanelle has the highest increase in new product," Davis said. "Old Town was a hot market at one point, because most of the product was new. Now the new product is in the Jordanelle area."

Single-family home sales in the Jordanelle area increased by 75 percent from the first quarter in 2013 while condominium sales increased by 37 percent. Most of the vacant lots in the area have already been sold, which may account for the 54 percent decrease in vacant lot sales this quarter.

Carol Agle, a Realtor and chair of the statistics committee for the Park City Board of Realtors, said most of the Jordanelle-area buyers are second homebuyers moving into areas that previously had been occupied primarily by permanent residents.

Properties in other primarily residential areas outside the Park City limits, including areas nearby Kimball Junction, are also seeing an increase in sales.

"[Second home buyers] want to be in a community and are hoping within several years to become primary or permanent residents," she said. "They are buying in areas like Park Meadows and areas closer to Redstone."

In fact, single-family home sales in the Snyderville Basin area were the highest this quarter, more specifically in the Jeremy Ranch and Pinebrook neighborhoods. The Snyderville Basin area also had the highest number of vacant land sales with 42 to date, and condominium sales in the area increased by 20 percent from last year.

Condominium sales account for the most closed sales this quarter, and Agle said that is because most of them are new.

"Buyers really like the price point and the fact that it’s new product," she said. "There is nice stuff to be bought in the $400,000 range."

The price points on vacant lots are also more affordable outside Park City limits. The median price for land inside city limits increased by 35 percent over last year to $677,000 while the median price for vacant land in the Snyderville Basin increased only 6 percent to $299,950.

Although the median price of vacant land in the Jordanelle area saw the most significant increase, 102 percent over last year to $217,000, it is still less than half the price of land inside city limits.

"People still prefer single-family homes if they can afford them, and inventory has decreased to a historic low," Agle said. "More people want to move here, and developers can’t afford to build a lot of more new stuff. The only land left is very expensive."

The median price for a single family home in the Old Town area has reached $1.1 million, which may account for the decrease in sales. However, the median price for a single family home in the Park Meadows area decreased by 3 percent to $1,255,000, which could have contributed to the 16 percent increase in sales.

Median prices for single-family homes in primarily residential areas like Jeremy Ranch, Pinebrook and Trailside increased to $725,000, $688,000 and $529,250, respectively.

"Real estate statistics are complex, because there is not ‘one market.’ The Park City area can be confusing, because it is highly segmented," Davis said. "This quarter illustrates just how segmented it can be, and local [real estate] agents understand these micro-markets."

Regardless of price, Agle and Davis said people moving to Park City include residents of states with hotter climates, like Florida and Texas, and metropolitan areas like Los Angeles, New York and Chicago.

"They are coming here more and more for the summer," Davis said. "The metropolitan residents are moving here to be in the mountains."

Agle said the majority of Californians moving to Park City are the ones relocating their assets. California’s state income tax was recently increased to 13 percent.

According to a press release from the Park City Board of Realtors, the increase in activity in Park City area real estate in March and April is a good indication that sales will continue to trend upward in 2014.

"I really can’t tell you with absolute certainty if this upward trend will continue. It’s like I always tell buyers when they ask me questions like that, ‘My crystal is broken,’" Davis said. "It depends on the market and what product [buyers] are looking at."

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